2023 01 People Magazine

An interview with Flea from the January 16th 2023 edition (it had Barbara Walters on the front cover).



Making of as Rock Star


Sitting in the sun-filled living room of his L.A. home surrounded by shelves of records and with a baby stroller by the front door, Red Hot Chili Peppers rocker Flea, 60, was beaming as he chatted about looking forward to becoming a dad again- just three days before he and his wife, fashion design Melody Ehsani, 42, welcomed their first child together on Dec.12. “I’m excited for it all,” says the celebrated bassist, father to daughters Clara, 34, and Sunny,17, from previous relationships “The love and connection, the cuddling, Sesame Street, dipping  little toes in frothing ocean waters for the first time.

The Australian-born musician, whose real name is Michael Balzary (he got the nickname Flea as a kid for his energetic, bouncy behaviour), has a lot to be grateful for these days. In addition to a new baby, he has a role as a tough 1920s Hollywood executive in the splashy movie Babylon alongside Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie. “I jumped at the opportunity,” says Flea, who has previously acted in films including Back to the Future Part II, The Big Lebowski and My Own Private Idaho. “It’s an epic film, the kind that doesn’t get made any-more.” And soon he’ll head back on tour with the legendary rock band he started with his best friend, singer Anthony Kiedis.

While life has not always been easy—he grew up with a verbally abusive stepfather, and he weathered a tragic loss in 1988 when bandmate Hillel Slovak died of a heroin overdose—he finds contentment through his creative drive and his family. “I’m grateful for my sadness and my joy,” says Flea. “Throughout my life I’ve always had this thing inside of me that wants to be better.” He reflects on moments that changed his life.

Flea’s world was turned upside down after his parents divorced when he was 7. Three years later he moved to L.A. with his mom and stop-dad and found solace in music.

Music has always been the voice of God to me. I grew up wild. I was a street kid. I was out of control. I didn’t have a guiding parental presence to help me grow. I had to make mistakes and learn as I went in life. But music was a place of community, collaboration and hope. And it’s still like that.

Even though I’ve been lucky to have a career and material success with music, my humility and my relationship to it hasn’t changed. I’m a student of

music every day. [More than 20 years ago] I went back to Fairfax High, where I went to school, to visit the music department. I saw they had no orchestra, band or instruments—all that stuff that was everything to me. I wouldn’t have showed up at school if it wasn’t for that. So, in 20011 started the Silverlake Conservatory of Music [a nonprofit that provides music education and scholarships]. We now teach 800 kids a week. It’s been a real blessing for me.

He met Chili Peppers singer Anthony Kiedis in high school. He says the secret to their 45-year friendship is to show up even when times are tough.

Friendship is not always easy. You might find it times like you’ve grown apart. But always try to see the bigger picture and to forgive and have faith in people and in yourself. Anthony and I have been friends since we were little boys, and sometimes it feels like the band kept us together when we wouldn’t even talk to each other. Now, 45 years we’ve been together, and we love backpacking, surfing and kayaking up in Alaska. But probably our favorite thing is to be in a recording studio listening back to something we Just laid down and feeling really proud of it. Something that didn’t exist now exists.


A health crisis led him to stop doing drugs. In 19921 got chronic fatigue syndrome. I really struggled. I was sick for two years. The Chili Peppers were getting big, and for the first time in my life I had money, I had hit records, and I was just miserable. I was still doing lots of drugs. I was out of control. And looking back, that stopped me. That was like God going, “Dude, sit still.” It was really hard. But it made me treasure good health, and I realized that nothing in the world was more important than that. Everything shifted for me. I became dedicated to living a healthy, spiritual life. I’m far from perfect. But every day I just try to be the best person I can be.

He and his wife, Melody, had an instant connection.

I got married right before the pandemic. When I first met her, she was the most self-contained, strongest person I think I’ve ever met. And gorgeous, funny and smart. Right away we just started reading books together and connecting. I was in awe of her. From the first minute we ever hung out, there was no small talk. We got right into the meat of things, talking about what we cared about and wanted to do with our lives. It was all-encompassing. I fell deeply in love.

His biggest joy in life is being a father.

Being the best parent I can be has been the single most important thing to me in the world since the day my oldest daughter was born. I always wanted to be a dad. Even when I had no business being a dad, I wanted to be a dad. I now have a 34-year-old and a 17-year-old and a baby, and their birthdays are all going to be within a month of each other. It’s like, every 17 years exactly I have a kid!


  1. Flea (in his sophomore year At Fairfax High in 1978) says he would tell his younger self, “Know that you’re of value and worth loving.”
  2. He says bandmate Kiedis (ca..1986 at the start of their career)”is like a brother.”
  3. “Life is great. My band just put out two albums, and we’re in the middle of a tour.” says Flea (with Kiedis at the Coachella Festival in 2013).


Meeting his Match

Flea (with a pregnant Ehsani at a Lakers game in October) says his wife of three years is “amazingly supportive and a really strong, creative woman.”

Full Circle Moment

Red Hot Chili Peppers members (from left) Kiedis, Flea, John Frusciante and Chad Smith got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in March. “I used to walk up and down that boulevard asking for change,” says Flea. “So the star definitely meant a lot to me.”

Movie Magic

“I think this film captures a period of time that’s really intense and amazing,” says Flea of Babylon, set in 1920s Hollywood.

Many thanks once again to Cesar at Red Hot Chili Peppers Club Mexico for so kindly sharing these scans with us.